Leisure time physical activities and dietary quality of the general and indigenous taiwanese populations are associated with fat distribution and sarcopenia

Po-Huang Chiang, Mark L. Wahlqvist, Lin-Yuan Huang, Yen-Chen Chang

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    Indigenous peoples are at greater risk of obesity-related health problems for various reasons. These have been explored in the adulthood (≥19 yrs) section of the nationally-representative Nutrition and Health Survey in Taiwan (NAHSIT) for 2005-2008 in Indigenous mountain-dwelling (IndT) (n=226) and general (mainly Han Chinese) (GenT) (n=1486) Taiwanese. Physical activity, BMI, fat distribution (waist circumference (WC) and triceps skinfold (TSF)) and mid arm muscle circumference (MAMC) have been compared. Leisure-time physical activities (LTPA) were assigned metabolic equivalents (METs). Comparisons were made by ethnicity-locality. Indigenous men and women were 3.81 and 5.47 times more obese (WHO criteria BMI ≥30 kg/m2) than the GenT, respectively. Some 55% of the IndT and 34% of the GenT reported no LTPA. All LTPA types were less evident in the IndT. Multivaiable adjusted ORs (95% CIs) against inactivity as referent were, for sarcopenic MAMC, in Indigenes with MVI-LTPA 0.13 (0.03-0.67) and in the GenT 0.61 (0.37-1.01); in the GenT with LTPA for BMI ≥30 kg/m2 and obese TSF, they were 0.53 (0.31-0.91) and 0.77 (0.60-0.98), respectively. Without dietary quality adjustment, the sarcopenia risk in GenT with LTPA was significant (OR=0.60, 95% CI: 0.37-0.97). Having adjusted for dietary quality, the significance disappeared. Less sarcopenia was found with ambulation in the GenT (OR=2.07, 95% CI: 1.26-3.43). More over-fatness in an IndT than GenT is associated with less LTPA. LTPA reduces sarcopenic risk irrespective of ethnicity, is partly dependent on diet, and reduces obesity indices in the GenT.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)599-613
    Number of pages15
    JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013


    • Body composition
    • Energy expenditure
    • Exercise
    • Muscle
    • Obesity

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